Some bikes are made for the joy of riding, and some are made for the convenience of getting from A to B with little effort. That second agenda is also where electric bikes often fit in, and particularly where the Lectric XP Lite fits itself into the market.
The Lectric XP Lite is an affordable e-bike, coming in at just $799 or $899 MSRP from the Lectric eBikes website (not available in the UK or Australia). It packs in some predictable specifications for the price, like a 350W rear hub motor and a modest 374W battery pack. The XP Lite’s standout feature is that it’s delivering that electric ride in a compact, folding form factor. Let’s take a closer look to see if it manages to distinguish itself without cutting too many corners to reach such a low price.
Lectric XP Lite - Key Specs
Size range: One size Motor: 300W rear hub, geared Top speed (motorized): 20mph Power: 374.4W (48v 7.8Ah) lithium-ion battery Control: Half twist throttle and cadence-sensor pedal assist E-bike classification: Class 2 Speeds: Single-speed Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes Frame material: 6061 Aluminum Fork material: Steel Wheel size: 20x2.4-inch Weight: 46 pounds (unmeasured) Range: 15-40 miles (rated); 12 miles (tested)
LECTRIC XP LITE REVIEW: DESIGN AND FEATURES
The Lectric XP Lite can get small, but it’s surprising how much presence it actually has when it’s unfolded. The thick frame — essential since it has to have a robust folding section and doesn’t get the structural benefit of triangles like most bike frames — is surprisingly beefy. Slap on the thick 20x2.4-inch tires, and you’re looking at a bike that’s got some meat to it. The trick is that all of that bulk is really low down the ground.
The bike has an extra-long seat post and fork steerer to make for a more natural riding position. When the XP Lite needs to shrink down, the seat post can slide all the way through the frame, the steerer can fold over, and the frame can hinge in the middle to fold the front wheel into line with the back wheel. Even the pedal can flip up vertically, though that only saves about an inch or two of space, since they have a sizable hinge. A metal guard hangs down under the bottom bracket, preventing the weight of the bike from resting on the chainring when the bike is folded up.
The mechanisms for locking the bike into place when it’s unfolded feel sturdy, though it’s disappointing not to see any mechanism for locking the bike into its unfolded position. Given the bike still weighs close to 50 pounds, moving it around with so many parts cable to flop around in its folded position proves difficult. And though it folds up into a size that’d be easy to stow in a car trunk or a closet, it’s still a big pile of metal to try lugging around. There is at least a convenient handle built into the frame.
The main portion of the frame tucks away the bike’s battery inside. The battery and its lock pull double duty. A key slot on the bottom of the frame locks or unlocks the battery and also slides out a locking peg in the frame that adds a redundant bit of security for holding the frame in its unfolded position. The key hole is inconvenient to reach, though, and it doesn’t release the key unless it’s in the off position. So I have no choice but to leave the key in while I’m riding, making it all the easier to forget the key when I get where I’m going or lose it because I can’t reasonably keep it on my keychain if it needs to be slotted in every time I ride. The battery is removable when the bike it folded up, so it can be charged separately from the bike, but there’s a slot in the frame to allow charging while the battery is still inserted,
Lectric kitted out the XP Lite surprisingly well for the price. The bike includes a taillight and headlight that run off the battery, though they’re not staggeringly bright and are low enough to the ground the visibility could still be a concern. The bike also has a half twist throttle, mounting points for racks, and a rather high-quality LCD display.
There’s just a single speed on the bike, though it has five levels of pedal assist. It uses mechanical disc brakes to slow down, though like many of the components, they’re not branded. While a lack of branding doesn’t necessarily spell quality issues, it can mean uncertainty when it comes to repairs or part replacement.
LECTRIC XP LITE REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
The Lectric XP Lite lives up to the “Lite” in the name perhaps more in its riding performance than in its construction. The thick tires, cushioned seat, and upright riding position make for a casual little cruiser. It’s not well built for anything beyond casual cruising as the pedaling stroke is at a bit of an off angle, and the steering is particularly twitchy, so trying to pedal fast makes for a wobbly ride.
But, while high-speed hauling may be out of the cards, the Lectric XP Lite holds up well at a leisurely pace that’s still going to knock the socks off of walking. The bike has a modest gear ratio that’s suited well to pedaling at about 10-15 mph, and the motor is more than happy to accommodate accelerating to that speed and holding it. The motor can edge up toward 20mph as well, though it can struggle to get quite there and pedaling is a fool’s errand at that high a speed with the gearing on deck.
Even with a super-long seat stem, a folding frame, and a folding fork steerer tube, the Lectric XP Lite feels sturdy. I rode it over some bumpy terrain, and it didn’t start creaking on me or making me worry about it folding in half mid-ride as much as I’d initially worried.
The XP Lite has a cadence sensor and throttle, giving me two options for riding. While holding the throttle, long-pressing the down button on the control panel sets the bike into a handy cruise control at that throttle level — a relief for the wrist, which can get uncomfortable trying to hold the throttle for an extended period. The throttle is especially handy for starting the bike up as the cadence sensor isn’t very sensitive and the motor doesn’t jump in promptly.
The battery pack in the XP Lite lives up to its rating. Lectric says it will go up to 15 miles on throttle alone or going full speed at max assist. I took the bike out for some heavy use, largely relying on throttle or level 5 pedal assistance, and it went 12 miles before it started to peter out and get slower and slower until it was barely walking. Lectric’s testing conditions had a lighter rider and didn’t involve significant stopping and starting while my testing did. 12 miles may not seem like much, but keeping the bike at a more leisurely pace, as it’s best suited too, will extend the range.
The brakes aren’t as touchy as I’d expect from a new bike. The calipers could have been narrowed, but this style of mechanical brakes are really easy to have constantly scraping and difficult to line up perfectly. That said, once the brake levers are pulled far enough, they had no trouble bringing me to a sudden stop. Even in the upright riding position, suddenly braking didn’t have me feeling like I was going to go over the handlebars.
There’s one weird and semi-dangerous quirk about the bike I should mention, though. If the bike has its pedal assist setting turned on, it can be risky walking the bike. The rear freewheel gear isn’t quite as free spinning as it should be, so as the rear wheel rolls forward, it can actually spin the gear forward, which transmits through the chain and rotates the front gear, turning the pedals and triggering the cadence sensor. Long story short, walking the bike with the assist on can see the motor suddenly kick. That can mean the bike flying up, flinging itself out of your hands, or jabbing into your back and then flinging itself up if you happen to be straddling it as you walk. This is something that a bit of extra lubricant on the rear freewheel might fix.
LECTRIC XP LITE REVIEW: VERDICT
The Lectric XP Lite simplifies the short jaunts from A to B. It makes for a comfortable, casual ride. Since the bike can fold up to fit into spaces that full-size bikes wouldn’t, it can be a handy option for the tighter quarters of an apartment, the trunk of a small car, or as a last-mile solution at the end of a train commute. It’s not light enough that you’d want to do a lot of stairs or walking it around. And it’s not so cheap as to steer clear of competition from the Propella 7S or Ride1Up Roaster V2 for those who haven’t ruled out a traditional bike design.
LECTRIC XP LITE REVIEW: Also consider
The king of folding bikes remains the Brompton, and the electric Brompton is a great solution if you’re will to part with the nearly $4k price tag. If you don’t need your bike to fold, the Ride1Up Roadster V2 is still the better choice though.
For something smaller and lighter, you might also want to look at one of the best electric scooters, as they will give you more range and flexibility for the money.